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Jets position group grades heading into the NFL Draft: Linebackers
Jets position group grades heading into the NFL Draft: Linebackers

Jets position group grades heading into the NFL Draft: Linebackers

With the 2021 NFL Draft approaching on April 29 and NFL free agency slowing down, here’s an overview on where each position group stands.

Linebackers Grade: C

Who’s on the roster: Blake Cashman, John Daka, Jarrad Davis, Noah Dawkins, Sharif Finch, C.J. Mosley and Del’Shawn Phillips.

Notable departure: Harvey Langi and Neville Hewitt

The Jets linebacker group has talent but some questions. Gang Green lost a majority of their 2020 production in free agency.

In 2020, Hewitt led the Jets in total tackles with 134 and Langi was second among linebackers with 60. Both weren’t re-signed.

The Jets brought in Davis on a one-year, $6 million deal who had 46 tackles and one tackle for loss last season. He struggled under Matt Patricia’s 3-4 scheme, but the Jets are hoping a change of scenery can change the former first rounder’s career trajectory.

2018 was Davis’s best season when he had 100 tackles, six sacks, five pass deflections and 10 TFLs.

After Mosley made four pro bowls for the Baltimore Ravens, he signed a five-year, $85 million contract with $51 million guaranteed with the Jets in 2019. But he’s only played two games for Gang Green since signing the deal.

Mosley injured his groin in 2019, and opted out of last season due to COVID-19 concerns in 2020. There were reports the Jets were taking calls about him according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

There’s uncertainty about what level Mosley will return to after not playing much in two seasons. Whether he can return to his Ravens level of play remains to be seen.

Cashman dealt with groin and hamstring injuries last season which limited him to four games. After being drafted in the fifth round in 2019, he’s only totaled 46 tackles in two seasons.

Draft Options

The linebacker corps is one of the many holes on the Jets’ roster, but unlike the other positions there’s some talent there with Mosley and Davis. They still must address the group.

Here are some options for them in the draft:

Zaven Collins, Tulsa

The 6-4, 260-pound linebacker was the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. In eight games he had 54 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and four interceptions while returning two for touchdowns.

Collins is an explosive menace that makes impact plays all over the field because of his elite instincts matched with his athletic ability. He doesn’t have issues with shedding blockers and when he diagnoses a play, he consistently explodes through the gaps to infiltrate the line of scrimmage.

Chazz Surratt, North Carolina

The 6-3, 230 pound linebacker had 207 tackles, 22.5 TFLs, 12.5 sacks and two sacks in his collegiate career. A majority of those numbers are from 2019-2020 when he was first-team All-ACC both years.

Surratt has good lateral movement skills and can track down ball carriers. He’s instinctive and is rarely out of position. In pass coverage he’s shown the ability to get range. His speed allows him to be quick in pursuit, he ran 4.59 at his pro day.

Jamin Davis, Kentucky

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Davis had 102 tackles with four TFLs and three interceptions.

He’s extremely athletic for a major linebacker which is evident in his ability to roam sideline-to-sideline. At his pro day, Davis ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash.

The 6-3, 234 pound linebacker’s vision puts him in great positions to make plays on the ball and he thrives against the run by being forceful and shows a tremendous nose for the ball. Davis is sensational in zone coverage with his range to cover a plethora of ground.

PREVIOUS POSITION GROUPS:

1. Quarterbacks

2. Running Backs

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3. Wide Receivers

4. Tight Ends

5. Offensive Line

6. Defensive Line

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Defensive Backs

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